Becoming a Financial Planner in Idaho

The Boise City-Nampa area of Idaho is the highest-income area in the state, according to 2009 per capita income figures reported by the Boise Valley Economic Partnership. As Boise is also the most populated city in Idaho, it is where the largest concentration of personal financial planners have established their businesses.

In the 2010 US Census Bureau report on population growth, Idaho was shown to rank fourth in the nation among the fastest-growing states. From 2000 to 2010, the state experienced population growth of 21 percent. The state’s total population is projected to grow to almost 2 million by 2030. Idaho’s population of residents over age 65 is growing particularly fast. In 2010, 12 percent of Idaho’s population was age 65 or older. By 2030, senior citizens are expected to make up 18.3 percent of Idaho’s total population, which means financial planners who offer retirement planning services are expected to see market segment growth in the state for many years.

The school-age population (ages 5 to 17) is expected to hold fairly steady in Idaho through 2030. In 2010, the US Census Bureau reported that 284,357 Idaho residents were in this age bracket, making up 18.7 percent of the state’s total population. By 2030, this number is expected to grow to include 351,502 Idaho residents. Information provided by the Lumina Foundation for Education showed that in 2008, approximately 34.8 percent of Idaho’s adults had, at minimum, a two-year college degree. If these enrollment trends hold, by 2025, 42 percent of Idaho’s adults will have a minimum of a two-year college degree. Financial planners who provide college tuition planning services will be needed more than ever to help families of children approaching college age establish and maintain effective savings plans.

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How to Obtain an Investment Adviser License in Idaho

Idahoans who wish to become proprietors of investment adviser (IA) firms or investment adviser representatives (IAR) of existing firms must register with the Idaho Department of Finance Securities Bureau. All IA firm applicants register through the FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) Investment Adviser Registration Depository, while IARs are registered through the Central Registration Depository (CRD). Applicants must pass the FINRA Series 65 exam or both the Series 66 and Series 7 exams. Exceptions to this rule are made if:

  1. The applicant passed Series 65 or Series 66 before January 1, 2000 and has been registered with an investment adviser for the preceding two years
  2. The applicant holds one of the following professional designations:
  • Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC) granted by the Investment Counsel Association of America
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP) granted by the Certified Financial Planners Board of Standards
  • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) granted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) granted by the American College
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) granted by the Association for Investment Management and Research

Idaho houses the offices of many globally, nationally and regionally connected investment advisory firms. Among these are Edward Jones in Boise, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Coeur d’Alene, and Lewiston; AmeriBen/IEC Group in Meridian; Northwestern Mutual in Sandpoint, Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston; as well as Arcadia Investment Advisors, Heritage Financial Advisors, and Gem State Investment Advisors, all with offices in Boise.

How to Obtain a Stockbroker License in Idaho

Broker dealer agents in Idaho, must also register with the Idaho Department of Finance Securities Bureau through the Central Registration Depository (CRD). Prospective agents must pass FINRA’s Series 63 or Series 66 exams along with one securities-specific exam such as Series 6 or Series 7.

Securities professionals must meet continuing education (CE) standards set by FINRA. This involves a Regulatory Element, taken after 24 months of licensure and every 36 months thereafter; and a Firm Element, provided by one’s firm. The Regulatory Element consists of a computer- training program that updates personnel on changes in securities regulations. The Firm Element is also a refresher course on securities products, procedures and the like.

How to Obtain a License to Sell Life Insurance and Fixed Annuities in Idaho

The Idaho Department of Insurance regulates licensed life insurance producers in the state who may also sell fixed annuities and become known as financial planners. Idaho does not require pre-licensing education but does require all producers to pass an exam administered by Pearson Vue. Fingerprinting must also be completed through Pearson Vue prior to licensure.

Twenty-four hours of continuing education (CE) must be taken every two years to maintain an Idaho producer license. Three of these hours must be in ethics courses. The CE Catalog is available through Sircon.

To become a variable contracts producer, selling variable annuities in Idaho, applicants will need a variable contracts license. This will involve first becoming registered as a securities professional with FINRA so as to provide the CRD number (FINRA securities license number) on the variable contracts application. The Series 6 or Series 7 exams usually must be passed to achieve this status. Once achieved, variable contracts producers must meet continuing education mandates of both FINRA and the Idaho Department of Insurance.